Vision, mission and history of INCLUDE

The Platform

INCLUDE is an independent knowledge platform initiated by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to bridge the gap between research and policy and practice. We identify existing, and generate new, knowledge and insights on inclusive development in Africa. To make this knowledge work for policymakers and practitioners in Africa and the Netherlands, we co-develop an ´action-oriented perspective´, that focuses on making knowledge and insights yield results. In this regard, INCLUDE has a unique knowledge management role that benefits stakeholders from all sectors. INCLUDE interacts closely with different research groups and partner organizations working in the Netherlands and Africa on inclusive development.

The platform is one of five knowledge platforms initiated by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to contribute to knowledge and effective policies in the Netherlands, other donor countries and developing countries.


While most African countries have registered high growth in the last decades, a large number of people are excluded from the benefits of this progress. Inclusive development requires policies for economic transformation and increased access to work, income and basic services, including cash transfers, to ensure that vulnerable and poor groups, especially young people and women, benefit from growth. However, inclusive policies can only be realized if these vulnerable groups are able to participate in decision and policy making, as well as implementation. In addition, inclusive policies need to be supported by coalitions of strategic actors – across states and society – to overcome resistance from ruling elites.


By gathering and disseminating existing and newly developed knowledge on inclusive development, INCLUDE aims to generate new insights and support policy dialogue and action-oriented perspectives for inclusive development in Africa.

Focus areas 2019–2022

Despite the recent two decades of high and sustained economic growth in many African countries, this growth has not translated into real economic transformation or an increase in wellbeing for the majority of Africans.

INCLUDE focuses on four policy areas that are key drivers of inclusive development:

  • economic growth with structural transformation
  • work and income for women and youth
  • access to, and use of, basic services, especially education and including social protection such as cash transfers
  • political participation and empowerment

Previous studies have documented that investments in these policy areas do not automatically lead to reduction in poverty and inequality. For development to be inclusive, four specific approaches and principles are essential

  • social equity (vulnerable populations)
  • spatial equity (marginal areas)
  • inclusive governance
  • political economy

You can read more about these themes and approaches in our concept note (in English and in French)


Knowledge agenda 2012-2018

The Knowledge Platform on Inclusive Development Policies (INCLUDE) was established in 2012 to promote evidence-based policymaking for inclusive development in Africa. It was initiated as a response to the failure of two decades of high economic growth in Africa to address poverty and inequality among large sections of the population. Three themes were identified within INCLUDE’s knowledge agenda that focus on key aspects of inclusive growth and the elimination of extreme poverty in African partner countries:

  • Productive employment: aimed to support research on promoting productive employment in Sub-Saharan African partner countries and a research-supported dialogue on employment promoting policies
  • Social protection: aimed to enhance insight into the role of social protection in achieving inclusive growth and the cost-effectiveness of its interventions
  • Strategic actors: investigated the role that strategic actors play in implementing policies that favour long-term inclusive development in Sub-Saharan African partner countries

In its first phase (2012–2018), INCLUDE supported 17 multi-country research projects on inclusive development, produced evidence-based knowledge, and shared this knowledge with Dutch and African policymakers and practitioners, while engaging them in policy dialogues. During this period, INCLUDE also encouraged its platform members to initiate concrete action at the country level to promote inclusive development. Towards this, INCLUDE supported 7 African Policy  Dialogues in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Rwanda, Ghana and Mozambique that encourage the use of existing  knowledge in policy making and to facilitate the uptake of the findings of INCLUDE’s research projects.